Author Topic: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller  (Read 2489 times)

Offline srnoel

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SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« on: February 28, 2011, 08:18:04 PM »
I've researched a bit and it looks like Copper works better for immersion chillers.  But my question is how much better?  Is it a huge difference?  SS is easier to clean and a bit more durable and I can find a SS chiller for 40$ (new).  Any suggestions would be great.

Debate away!

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 09:45:43 PM »
Copper has better heat transfer rate and is easier to work with.
I do not have any problem cleaning copper IC.
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Offline euge

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 11:32:31 PM »
Copper has better heat transfer rate and is easier to work with.
I do not have any problem cleaning copper IC.


+1 Never had a single problem with copper- except I think it's wise to solder on hose-fittings instead of using hose-clamps. Like this:



If you are going to bend it up yourself make sure you take into consideration the wort depth you'll typically have.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2011, 05:24:57 AM »
Copper has a much much better heat transfer coeffidicnt than SS.  However, the way it works it that the highest resistance to the heat flow is in the liquid metal interface for both the water and wort side.  If you go through the equations you find that the SS is about 87-88% as effective as the copper, even though the heat transfer coeffecient is so much less.

I have copper, as I built my own from a 50 ft 1/2 coil of copper tubing that was about $50 at Lowes, and then add the end fittings an you are over $60.  Surface area is a big part of the equation, as that is where the heat flows.  If the SS is a 1/2 inch 50 foot design for $40, it would not be a bad way to go..
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Offline Pi

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2011, 06:30:19 AM »
Where can you find 50' of stainless tubing for 40 bucks? Grainger has 316 welded stainless 1/2" OD; .2" wall thickness for $128. I use a copper 3/8" counterflow pushing it with a March pump. I guess I could build a stainless one and would still be cheaper then Blichman's Therminator. Anyone worked with SS tubing? is it much harder to bend?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2011, 06:57:26 AM »
My point was to buy the same size, don't expect a 25 ft small diameter chiller to perform as well.

This one is $99.95, so call it $100.
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/stainless-steel-immersion-wort-chiller-w-garden-hose-fittings-50-ft.html

The $50 on Midwest is 25 ft.
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Offline richardt

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 07:24:42 AM »
Copper has better heat transfer rate and is easier to work with.
I do not have any problem cleaning copper IC.


+1 Never had a single problem with copper- except I think it's wise to solder on hose-fittings instead of using hose-clamps. Like this:



If you are going to bend it up yourself make sure you take into consideration the wort depth you'll typically have.

Just don't grab it while it is hot  :o (without wearing any gloves)!
Like hopfenundmaltz, I built mine from 50 ft of 1/2 inch (or was it 3/8ths?) copper tubing.  Works fine, but I'll eventually have to weld some fittings rather than using clamps.  Good idea to keep a bend so the attachment to the hose lies below the rim of the kettle .  Nearly all IC's tend to spray a little--you don't want it spraying into the BK.

I slid a PVC Pipe over the handle area and slid some cut-to-size wooden dowels inside the lumen to keep the inflow and outflow tubes slightly away from each other and then taped the ends with electrical tape.  Now I don't have to have a glove on to move the wort chiller around.

Offline Mark G

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2011, 08:46:15 AM »
I have two chillers, both identical 1/2" diameter and 50', but one is copper and one is SS. In the summer I use one as a pre-chiller with the other in the BK. In the winter, I only need to use one. I honestly cannot tell the difference in performance between the two. I've tried timing them, but with the variability in my water temps throughout the year, I haven't been able to get any meaningful data. I'd guess the chilling time is within a few minutes of each other if water temps were the same.
Mark Gres

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: SS vs Copper Immersion Chiller
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 09:36:38 PM »
One more thing.
when you say 1/2" copper it usually means ID.
When you say 1/2 SS it is usually OD.
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